As Florida residents, you and your kids live in what is probably the nation’s best state for fun in the sun. A lot of this fun takes place in water, be it the ocean or a pool. No one need tell you how much your kids enjoy water games. Whether it is your toddler splashing around in the bathtub with his or her duckies or your older kids playing yet another round of Marco Polo or your teenagers showing off for their friends, water fun is a big part of most Florida kids’ lives.
As enjoyable as all this water fun is, however, those swimming pools they love to play in pose a huge hazard to their safety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between 800 and 900 children drown every year. In fact, for young children, drowning is the second leading cause of death.
Home swimming pools
Home pools pose the biggest danger for kids. Just a few weeks ago, the 19-month-old daughter of Olympic skier Bode Miller drowned at a pool party she and her parents were attending.
Per the CDC, the following factors are the major ones that increase the likelihood that your child could drown in a family swimming pool:
- (S)he cannot swim.
- You do not require him or her to wear a life jacket while in the pool.
- You and other adults fail to provide constant supervision.
- You or other pool owners fail to properly fence and secure your pools so as to prevent access by unsupervised children.
The CDC also says that while you should learn CPR before your kids reach swimming age, this may not help you or your child if (s)he gets into trouble while in a pool. Child drownings tend to be quick and silent since kids seldom splash or cry for help because they fail to recognize the danger they are in. Therefore, the very best thing you can do to prevent your child from accidental drowning is to watch him or her like a hawk the whole time (s)he is in or around the pool.
Even children as young as one year old are not too young for swimming lessons. It is vital that your child learn the following swimming survival skills as early as possible:
- How to jump into water above his or her head level and return to the surface
- How to float and tread water for at least one minute
- How to turn around a full 360 degrees while in the water and find an exit
- How to swim 25 yards to the pool’s exit
- How to exit the pool without using its steps or ladder
As a responsible parent, it is your job to keep your kids safe in and around swimming pools. Your constant vigilance could save his or her life or the life of another child.